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Opinion >  Column

100 years ago in Eastern Washington: A determined posse got some intel on the Metaline Falls bank robbers, and radium was back in the headlines as a miracle treatment

 (S-R archives)
(S-R archives)

A Metaline Falls, Washington, posse was determined to starve out two bank bandits who were believed to be hiding in the hills near town.

The search had “settled into an endurance contest between posse and bandits,” a correspondent wrote. The bandits will be “forced to make a break when their food runs out.”

At least, that was the plan. Authorities believed that during the time the two men were “loafing” around town before the robbery, they had purchased about three days’ worth of food and cached it near a bridge. After the robbery, they were able to reach their cache and “make away with it.”

They were thwarted in their plan to head out to Colville, however, because of the close pursuit of the 30-man armed posse.

From the medical beat: Dr. Lorenzo L. Stephens of Spokane reported “satisfactory results” with a new radium therapy for cancer patients.

“A woman suffering terribly from cancer of the breast was given the treatment, radium needles being inserted into the swollen part, and radium tubes being brought into contact with the surface of the body,” The Spokesman-Review wrote. “In 10 days the swelling had been reduced, he says, until the breast was nearly of normal size and that pain had been relieved.”

Dr. Stephens, who had recently been trained in this new and still experimental therapy, had 100 milligrams of radium in his possession. Each tiny radium needle cost about $1,500.

Dr. Stephens said “radium is a godsend to women afflicted with fibroid tumors.”

He had given lectures at Sacred Heart Hospital about the medical uses of radium.

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